A place for stealth fans of 'tween romance

The Baltimore Sun

T wilight might well become a blockbuster, but it's unlikely to be a hit at the Senator Theatre unless lots of grown-ups are closet Stephanie Meyer fans.

The movie about a high school girl who falls for a vampire has obvious teen and 'tween appeal. The Senator, not so much. For one thing, it's a "no-texting zone."

Owner Tom Kiefaber takes a hard line, telling moviegoers to head for the lobby if they feel the urge to text.

"It's the light," he said. "We project the light in here. It's not supposed to be coming from the audience."

Text-happy teens tend to go elsewhere for movies.

"The teeny-boppers go to the mall," Kiefaber said. "Cinema One-Too-Many."

So then why screen Twilight, which was due to open at midnight last night for a three-week run at The Senator?

Kiefaber is betting there are lots of grown women who'll want to see the movie, too. He bases that theory on intelligence passed along by his sister, a teacher who spent time at the shore last summer.

"There's a lot of women sitting on beach this summer with one of the Twilight books tucked into a magazine - sort of stealth reading the whole Twilight series," he said she told him. "It's almost like a stigma or something."

She didn't spy any men sneaking peeks at Meyer books. But there's no stigma when it comes to chick flicks at The Senator.

"The phrase chick flick is not by any means a derogatory term at The Senator," Kiefaber said. "As a matter of fact, it's our bread and butter. ... You can tell who's walking a step ahead, who reaches for the door handle - there's all of these tells when a film has a strong [chick] appeal which is motivating the trip. A lot of the men who get dragged to these things, they actually enjoy them. But on the way in, it's like being led into the slaughter."

Intern to full-fledged flack

Mayor Sheila Dixon has a new acting spokesman. Ian Brennan took over this week from Sterling Clifford, who left, as The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey reported recently, "to move to San Francisco, grow a beard and live with his wife, an officer in the Coast Guard who was transferred there in June."

Brennan, 33, got his start in government communications as an unpaid intern in the office of then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer. As a St. John's College student then, Brennan's proudest accomplishment was writing a proclamation to mark Smokey Bear's birthday. (Which is when he found out it's Smokey Bear and not Smokey The Bear.)

Brennan went on to handle mail for then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. And then, in November 2003, he landed a job as Web content manager for a youngish Northeastern governor.

That the governor in question was Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, whose career imploded nine months later in a sex scandal, only added to the experience.

Brennan can't take credit for penning "I am a gay American." But he did help handle the flood - no, tsunami - of e-mail prompted by the governor's coming-out.

"I think we got 10,000 in three or four days," he said.

Brennan said the e-mails were "85 percent supportive." Very little of it was, " 'You're a so-and-so and going to hell' sort of thing. That was nice."

Send in the Marine

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and his parents, Bob Senior and Nancy, just got back from a business and cultural mission to Korea.

While there, Senior, a Korean War veteran, spread some incense.

And Nancy Ehrlich spread some green.

John Powell, director of operations for Military Historical Tours, was part of the tour and kept Ehrlich's law office staff posted on their activities via e-mail.

"The first [photo] is a memorial ceremony at their National Cemetery," Powell wrote. "Mr. E is spreading incense to assist the souls of the combat dead into heaven (quite an honor). ... At the Marine Corps Ball this evening Mr. E was the oldest Marine present and was in on the cake cutting ceremony.

"They are having a good time and the Governor has been gracious to all. He was a hit tonight, as several of the military present were from MD. More later.

"Tomorrow, Mrs. E is going shopping. I consider myself a pro but she may be an all star."

Connect the dots

Over The Baltimore Sun's fax machine yesterday afternoon churned a news release from the Maryland Transit Administration, where someone apparently just realized that the major light rail shutdown would put a damper on a feel-good event. "Meet the Light Rail Managers at Cromwell Station, tomorrow, November 21, 2008, has been cancelled." ... "Both eloquence and attitude are on full display" says a blurb about Cornel West's new book, Hope on a Tightrope. You can see both in the flesh tomorrow, when West speaks at the Enoch Pratt Central Library at 2 p.m. "An honest, unbridled, and unabashed commentary on issues that affect the lives of all Americans," is how the library is billing him. ... By the guard's desk in the lobby of the William Donald Schaefer Building, there's a directory of state agencies housed there. Under the Public Service Commission, it still lists Ken Schisler as chairman. No wonder our electric bills went sky high! ... Kweisi Mfume delivers Morgan State's convocation address Dec. 4.

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